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NFL SPOTLIGHT | SIDELINES

There's Always Room for the Red Sox

October 06, 2003|Jay Christensen | Times Staff Writer

Call it the Boston Glee Party.

While 68,436 fans were watching the Patriots roll the Tennessee Titans, 38-30, at Foxboro, Mass., 35,048 were on hand at Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox resuscitate their postseason hopes with a 5-4 victory over the Oakland A's.

If you closed your eyes, it might have been difficult to tell one venue from the other.

In the final five minutes of the Patriot victory, fans were cheering as much for the Red Sox as the NFL team.

New England receiver Troy Brown couldn't figure out what was going on after he returned a punt for the touchdown only to have it called back because of a penalty. After the flag was tossed, the fans began to cheer.

"It surprised me to hear the cheers, but I knew something good had happened, like they picked up the flag or something," he said.

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Hard-core football fans will never forget Vince McMahon's stirring introduction in 2001 of his XFL at the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl in Las Vegas.

"This is the X-F-L," McMahon bellowed as fans roared their approval.

Although the XFL is just a memory, it lives in the NFL.

Rod Smart, he of the "He Hate Me" inscribed across the back of his Las Vegas Outlaw jersey, is finally making some friends. In Carolina, of all places.

Smart showed some flash when he dashed 100 yards with a kickoff return for a Panther touchdown in Carolina's 19-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

General managers across the league probably are wishing they could have another shot to get Smart.

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Yet another retread is prospering in Carolina. Quarterback Jake Delhomme, a Louisiana native and former Saint, was a Ragin' Cajun against his old teammates, passing for an efficient 124 yards.

He was ready to go at 6 a.m.

"When I woke up and looked at the alarm clock I thought, 'You've got to be kidding me,' " he said. "I was ready to play. I had to calm myself down a little bit."

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Associated Press contributed to this report.

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